Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Inside the 11th Hour

It consumes your thoughts. I know, you don’t want to admit it. Most of the time, neither do I because it’s
something trivial or fleeting or an idol I’ve created out of something that won’t last.

I won’t judge.

Because hear this loud and clear, I sure as heck don’t want your judgment spotlighted on me.

Stepping into this risk, I’m going to reveal what’s crept into just about every single one of my thoughts lately. Pervasive as dewy skin humidity.

I’ve been wondering about the 11th hour. I’ve been giving too much credit to time. Time as we understand it.

Let me explain.

I’m not talking about Meg Ryan weeping on Billy Crystal’s shoulder, “I’m gonna be forty.” I am talking about this subconscious time table I have, regulating some sort of order of events in my brain. Picture a factory of clocks if you will. A factory creating a false sense of soundness and inaccurate logic.

I hope to be published by…
I want my girls to learn this by…
I’m eager for my marriage to look like this by…
I will finally learn this by…

While you could easily call these expectations or goals (I’m a strong believer in goal-setting), I’m going to suggest they’re also linked to fruit. When you pour time and energy into something the typical consequence is that you experience evidence of time and energy invested.

Here’s the catch. The time catch.

Time is limited. Unpredictable. And sometimes time squashes fruit. Or it rots it, making those hopes and wants seem futile, if not ridiculous.

So we’re on the same page, I’m not merely referring to the seconds and days we’re granted here on earth, but the entire concept as a whole. Dreams can’t be crammed inside time. Or lessons. Or hope.

It is these thoughts that ground me when I begin to get desperate and worried things won’t come through for me in the 11th hour. There’s still a window, I tell myself. There’s still hope. What if life is one gigantic 11th hour? What if my faith is finding ways to come through for me all the time?

What I really want to know is when I began to let it slide—hope? When did I give time the keys to my cerebral car, hijacking hope in the process? At what point did I shove trust into a box, ordering it to stay there until I tell it to come out?

This is probably why I love reading books that bust free from the conventional ways we understand time…The Time Traveler’s Wife. Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and why I’m looking forward to reading The Repeat Year by Andrea Lochin. Also why I’m tempted to make a Benjamin Button joke at least once a week. Marty McFly, anyone?

Here’s the thing, I’m taking back the keys. I’m going to embrace the wild idea that the 11th hour is a limitless playground of becoming and elongated saves.

Have you ever given time too much credit in your life concerning a particular situation? Could we all be living in the 11th hour?

photo by stock.XCHNG

“When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity - in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.

The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits - islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.”  
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea


  1. Oh, yes, Wendy. I've so been in and out of the 11th hour. Thank you for this gentle reminder.

    1. I'm reminding myself right along with you. Thanks for your words, Susie!

  2. Our society is so focused on cramming as much fruit as we can into each minute that we aren't attuned to the processes of planting, watering, waiting, watching, pruning, waiting, then harvesting. The harvest is minimal compared to all the other stages. We've believed the lie that fruit is the goal when in fact, growth is.

  3. Love this! Expressed so well! And love what Jeanette says here too. You also reminded me I need to give The Gift of the Sea a reread.

    1. Love that read! I agree, Jeanette added some golden wisdom. That's what I love about this community of thoughts...how we add to each other.

  4. Another shot of brilliance, Wendy. My pastor preached on this idea about a year or so ago and it really convicted me. I'm very guilty of thinking of my life in terms of time-tied goals. It's a tunnel-vision way to live. As he said then, "the harvest is now." I don't want to miss that harvest because I've got my eyes focused on what I hope is ahead. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. I would crack myself up as a preacher b/c I'd be constantly beating myself up. Ever seen Fight Club? Just read an awesome few line from O. Chambers about living in the now.

  5. And this is how I live. Yep. UGGGGH.

    1. We're in this together then. And my guess was correct that I'm not alone in this thinking.

  6. Cool post! I should probably focus more on time. I tend to not like goal setting, planning, etc. EXCEPT bedtime. I count down to that every day. *wicked mommy grin*

    1. I used to envision myself "clocking out" when my kids were teeny tiny and my brain was on vacation. I wondered after those clock out hours if my brain would come back home. ;-)

  7. wow - this is so well said and poignant. yes, I think I get stuck in that mind trap from time to time but it is never a good thing and I think we are more creative when we let go of the very finite limitations and parameters like time goals.


Taking Time

college applications                 homecoming                            flag football                basketball             SATs   ...